Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

The sun is hitting just the tops of the trees, the bases still in chilly shadow. It’s 7:30 and Maura and Aidan are playing with the change sorters behind me. The thermometer outside the window tells me that its 19 degrees.

For the first time, this morning I wondered if Tim was alive. For the first time, I wondered if today was the day he would die. Yesterday was a tough day for him.

Margaret and I drove to Spokane yesterday to trade in her rental car. In spite of repeated phone calls, and pleas National Rental Car had decided to take advantage of the situation she was in to jack her rate from 40 dollars a day to 120 dollars a day, and of course, “there was nothing they could do about it.”

So we dropped it off and walked to stalls down and rented from Thrifty for 120 dollars for the week.

The girl behind the counter at National had the unfortunate name of Sumer, so that she could walk through life with a typo affixed to a piece of plastic above her right breast. Sumer charged Margaret an extra 100 dollars by mistake and then said she couldn’t do anything about it. We told Sumer that she was wrong and that she knew she was wrong and that she needed to do something about it right away. So she discovered that she could do something about it. Unfortunately for Sumer, she corrected her mistake by 20 dollars, instead of 100, and then informed us that in order to correct that mistake she would have to start all over. She stared at us like this bit of news should surely make us realize how unreasonable we were being, but we said, well okay, then. You better get started. So finally, Sumer actually discovered that she could correct her original mistake, and when she did, she refused to look at us, and stared at her screen and said perkily, “Have a nice day.”

I leaned over the counter, and said, “Sumer, a word of advice. You aren’t nearly pretty enough to be this stupid and lazy,” and then I picked up Aidan in his car seat and walked away. All I saw was that her pupils actually dilated from the shock of it, most likely because I had dared to suggest that she wasn’t as pretty as she thought she was.

I felt bad for a millisecond and then shrugged and decided that Sumer had it coming. That has now become a buzz word for this period as well. Sumer had it coming.

Thrifty was much nicer.

Beth and Laura left yesterday, just after Margaret and I got home, and that was incredibly sad. Beth has been a part of Tim’s cancer story since the very beginning and he is like a brother now. Saying goodbye shattered her, as it has everyone.

I know that is why I am staying. I can’t do it. If he leaves, so be it…but I will not leave first. I am not strong enough.

Tim stopped breathing late yesterday afternoon and kept turning purple, and scaring the hell out of us. He aspirated a good portion of his milkshake into his lungs and then demanded more. After we got him cleaned up, he was lying there and then suddenly he started turning purple again. Mary got him breathing and then went to call hospice and grab her stethoscope. I sat on the bed and he stopped breathing again. I got him to start again, and then he wanted to get up. Doug Dirks and I sat on the bed and held him down, which lets face it isn’t that hard, and then he stopped breathing again. So we talked to him “Take a deep breath Timmy. Okay, let it out. Now take another one…”

After he was feeling better his oxygen deprived brain told him to get up and go visiting, and since there is really no reason at this point to say no to him about anything, he got up and supervised the tiling for a bit and then Doug, Suzanne, and Tom went to visit Joe Neumayer with him but Tim forgot why he was there when he got there. Its all okay though, PL and I drove over on the 4-wheeler and got there a few seconds before them so we could talk to Joe before and after and let him know what was going on. He was of course amazing, and just talked to Tim as though he understood everything Tim was saying, and then we asked Tim if he wanted to go home and Joe could come over later, and he was fine with that so we went home.

I asked Mary if he was going to die tonight, and she said “maybe.”

Tim doesn’t want to die in his bed because he is afraid that Suzanne will be too freaked out to ever sleep in it again. So he asked to have a hospital bed set up in his shop for when the time comes. Last night the truck pulled up and Tom and I helped unload his death bed. It was just a regular hospital bed, ugly brown wood veneer, chrome siderails, institutional mattress, and when we got it set up Leon and Tom and I just stood there staring at it, like some strange and smelly animal had crawled into our midst.

Mary had also ordered a couple of oxygen tanks to help Tim get through last night. After we ate, we all sat around the living room while Tim slept soundly in the recliner, the hum of the oxygen tank in the background.

Like I said, today is the first day I woke up and wondered if Tim was alive. I feel this more profoundly today then at any time I have been here so far, I guess because there was no question watching him yesterday afternoon that this is a guy who is fading quickly.

Its funny though, as I was waking up this morning I didn’t know what to hope for. If Tim wants to go, I hope for him to go, but there is no way of knowing. Right now, he seems to be enjoying these days of friends and family, and so that part of me that wants to decide for him I guess what is “best” has to realize that even though it is messy and uncomfortable, for Tim right now hearing our voices and feeling the evening air on his skin as he walks around outside might be so precious that he wants to hold onto it until it slips from his grasp. He seems in no hurry to let anything go, and we will continue to give him anything he wants until he is ready to slip away.


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At 7:46 PM, Blogger steph said...

You probably did Sumer a favor. Maybe she'll start using her brain and get a lot more out of life. Nice wake up call! [smile]

What is your connection/relation to Tim?


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